Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia's Fin de Siecle

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9780299208844: Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia's Fin de Siecle

The first generation of Russian modernists experienced a profound sense of anxiety resulting from the belief that they were living in an age of decline. What made them unique was their utopian prescription for overcoming the inevitability of decline and death both by metaphysical and physical means. They intertwined their mystical erotic discourse with European degeneration theory and its obsession with the destabilization of gender. In Erotic Utopia, Olga Matich suggests that same-sex desire underlay their most radical utopian proposal of abolishing the traditional procreative family in favor of erotically induced abstinence.

2006 Winner, CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Titles, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries Honorable Mention, Aldo and Jean Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures, Modern Language Association
"Offers a fresh perspective and a wealth of new information on early Russian modernism. . . . It is required reading for anyone interested in fin-de-siecle Russia and in the history of sexuality in general."-Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Slavic and East European Journal
"Thoroughly entertaining."-Avril Pyman, Slavic Review"

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From the Inside Flap:

"No historian of literature has looked at turn-of-the-century Russia in the perspective found in Olga Matich’s groundbreaking study.--Yuri Tsivian, professor of Slavic languages & literatures, art history, and comparative literature, University of Chicago

"In examining the biographies, images, programs, and writings of these ‘decadent utopians,’ the author illuminates, with an enlightened specificity and openness long overdue in Russian studies, the productive intersection between psychopathology and modernism. Erotic Utopia makes a theoretically exciting and richly informative contribution to our understanding of fin-de-siècle tsarist culture and its dreams and discontents.--Beth Holmgren, chair and professor of Slavic languages & literatures, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Author:

Olga Matich is professor of Russian literature and culture at the University of California, Berkeley.

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